Can Any Inbound Linking Hurt My Ranking?

The answer is simple – some inbound linking can hurt your search ranking. How is this known for certain? Well, for one, Google makes it clear they will penalize your website if you violate their quality guidelines.  “Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This can result in some or all of your site getting a manual action.”

Perhaps you hired a  search engine optimizer that guaranteed you a certain number of incoming links.  Some of these unscrupulous SEO “experts” simply provide links to your website from their link farms.  Or perhaps a competitor’s  SEO expert placed these links “on your behalf” expecting to improve their client’s search engine rankings by hurting yours. Note that some websites close and give up their domain name which can be redirected to websites for less than desirable purposes.

It is important to monitor your external links and avoid linking to or from any website that may be involved in dubious activities. Trust is a very important ranking factor for Google and poor linking tactics can ruin your overall SEO Strategy – or get your website blacklisted.

Removing Bad Links to Your Website

What should you do if Google has taken a manual action against you? Or what if you believe that your website’s ranking is being hurt by low-quality links, that are not under your control, and could be a violation of Google’s quality guidelines?

  1. Make every effort possible to clean up the unnatural links by contacting the offending websites to ask them to remove the links. If you are unsuccessful then you can try step 2
  2. Disavow these links and ask Google to them when assessing your website

Google Disavow Links tool.

Note that only disavowing the bad links isn’t good enough. Leaving the links thinking that they may help you in other ways is one way to lose Google’s trust. You should remove any link on or to your website that could possibly be perceived as illegitimate while cultivating links with trusted and reliable websites.

My Digital Agents

We are focused on helping small and mid-sized local businesses succeed by improving their online presence. This includes their ranking in search engines, directories, and map applications, optimizing their website to convert visitors into customers, managing their online reputation and if needed, digital advertising.

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